by Allanah Leahy – EM TV Online
A report released on Tuesday by the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital revealed that an important part of the brain thins in result of long-term smoking.
Smoking thins the brain’s cortex, or outer layer, which is responsible for memory, language and perception.
The institute held a study involving 504 male and female subjects made up of current smokers, ex-smokers and non-smokers. Current and ex-smokers, at the age of 73, had a strikingly thinner brain cortex than those who never smoked.
All subjects had been examined as children in 1947 under the Scottish Mental Survey.
An upside is that subjects who stopped smoking seem to recover their *cortical thickness each year they don’t smoke. This recovery process is, however, apparently slow and incomplete, markedly with heavy ex-smokers who, although stopping smoking for over 25 years, still had a thinner cortex.
The cortex actually does grow thinner with normal aging but the study found that smoking appears to accelerate the cortical thinning.
“Smokers should be informed that cigarettes could hasten the thinning of the brain’s cortex, which could lead to cognitive deterioration. Cortical thinning seems to persist for many years after someone stops smoking,” said Dr Sherif Karama, the study’s lead author.
Karama added that cortical thinning seemingly persists many years after someone stops smoking.
*Of, relating to, or consisting of cortex.